By Alan Wiederhold
What’s your favorite thing about being a health insurance broker? Working with carriers? Selling a bunch of services through a spreadsheet?
If you answered yes to either of these questions, stop reading right now. This blog isn’t for you.
But, if you’re looking to grow your business, differentiate yourself from your competition, and become a true consultant who presents your clients with real, lasting, and valuable solutions, you’ll want to keep reading. Because we’ve got four changes you can — and need to — make today to grow your business and become a true trusted invaluable business partner to your clients.
1: Stop being a broker.
The traditional model of selling health insurance is dying, and it’s taking your business with it. Companies are tired of the endless carousel of having to go through the annual open enrollment dance. They’re sick of paying astronomical premiums every year and having to move from one carrier to the next only to save a couple of points. They’re looking to you for new solutions.
Are you able to provide what they need? Not under the traditional broker model. Think about it. Under the traditional model, every broker is offering customers the same choices, from the same 4 or 5 carriers, from the same spreadsheet, for the same costs. Meanwhile, they’re not doing anything to differentiate themselves from their competition, yet they’re afraid of losing business.
That’s not a long-term solution for success. So, stop being a broker and…
2: Start being a consultant.
Get off the carousel, break away from the spreadsheet, and become the partner your clients need, want, and expect. Don’t just be the middle person who sells them a plan and a “rate.” Instead:
• Provide them with insights and direction that will give them a better ROI on their health insurance plans.
• Work with them to find the right customizable plans for their businesses.
• Help them save money while giving their employees exceptional coverage and service at a price they can afford.
• Answer their questions and guide them to the right choices.
• Show your expertise and what makes you really different.
All of this may mean having tough and honest conversations with your clients and helping them rethink their benefits acquisition strategy. You may have to tell them that a certain plan or policy they’ve spent the last five years paying for isn’t (and perhaps never was) the right plan for them. Or, you might have to show them how to balance plan features and budgetary considerations.
Throughout, you’ll transform from an indistinguishable salesperson into a valued partner to your clients, someone who helps them navigate their journeys toward better and more affordable healthcare. You’ll establish relationships you can cultivate over time and liberate yourself from the constraints of being just a health insurance broker.
3. Up your value through use of actionable data.
The initial sale is only the beginning of your relationship. The trick is to provide real value to your clients throughout the life of your engagement. That means supplying them with recommendations all year round that will help them lower their overall healthcare spend.
Do that by turning raw data into actionable intelligence that you can use to provide smart guidance to your clients. Medical, lifestyle, clinical, and pharmacy data—all of it can be used to inform your planning and recommendations. With the right data in hand, you can work you’re your clients to monitor their employees’ medical claims, eligibility requirements, and more. You can identify gaps in care outreach, create targeted member outreach, improve program enrollment, and analyze program utilization and participation.
In short, you can optimize your clients’ programs not just when you first present them, but all year long, saving them money and upping your value.
4: Keep healthcare simple yet forward thinking.
Finally, you need to help your clients feel comfortable with their healthcare options. Unfortunately, insurance providers have made that somewhat difficult by obfuscating plans and premiums and not practicing transparency. They’ve stuck you and your clients with a bewildering series of confusing options that a) make it difficult for you to know what to present to your customers and b) keep them from understanding what they’re getting and how much they’re really paying for healthcare.
It’s time to cut through the noise and help your clients understand that good healthcare boils down to a few key things, including:
● Low premiums
● Customizable plans that provide great coverage
● Excellent customer service
● Actionable data for intelligent plan optimization
Each of these are cornerstones of Evolution and our partially self-funded insurance options. Along with cost-effective savings, we offer concierge-level service and 24/7-member advocacy. We’re an ideal partner to help you make the transformation from broker to consultant because we provide you with the tools you need to give your clients the best possible coverage in an affordable manner.
That’s not a change to fear. Instead, it’s a change you need to embrace — not just because it’s inevitable, but because it’s going to take you where you need to be. You’ll no longer be a sales tool for fully funded carriers. You’ll be a high value asset poised to differentiate yourself from the herd and continually take your business to new heights.
Alan Wiederhold is executive vice president at Evolution Healthcare. Alan oversees Evolution’s strategy for providing brokers and their clients with cost-effective health insurance options that save money without sacrificing care. He is an author, national speaker and self-proclaimed healthcare nerd focused on creating new strategies for employers.